Wounded USC prepares for USF

Running back Demetris Summers is doubtful for Saturday’s game against USF because of a strained ankle, and cornerback Jonathan Joseph is out for the season after breaking his foot and having surgery to repair it.

Also on the injury list is freshman receiver Sidney Rice, who is out indefinitely after hyper-extending his knee during warm-ups before the Georgia game.

South Carolina head coach Lou Holtz said the injuries were more fluke than they were lack of conditioning.

“It couldn’t possibly be (lack of conditioning),” Holtz said, “because nobody has worked harder or been any more physical in two-a-days with as few injuries (as we have).”

It took all of one day for Holtz to put Saturday’s loss behind him and move on to preparing for USF.

In typical Holtz fashion, the USC head coach managed to do the two things he does best in his weekly news conference Monday — put the last game behind him and build up his team’s next opponent as if the Gamecocks were playing the Green Bay Packers next Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium.

With regard to the offensive game plan for Saturday, Holtz said he would play sophomore quarterback Syvelle Newton every third series. Holtz said he would look to keep Pinkins fresh for four quarters, which he did not think was the case against Georgia, as Pinkins’ energy faded in the fourth quarter.

Responding to questions of what went wrong against the Bulldogs, Holtz said the team made too many little mistakes and the coaching staff might have gotten a little too conservative with its game plan after the Gamecocks led 16-0 in the first half. The main focus for Holtz this week is to make certain his team is ready for USF.

“We want to put this to rest,” Holtz said. “Georgia beat us last week. We don’t want them to beat us this week, too.”

Holtz has respect for Bulls head coach Jim Leavitt. The Gamecocks practiced at USF while in the area for the team’s two Outback Bowls and the two coaches had the chance to get to know one another. Leavitt was the defensive coordinator at Kansas State before spending the past eight seasons as USF’s head coach.

Leavitt “took Kansas State from one of the worst defensive teams to one of the best in the country,” Holtz said. “And he’s done the same thing at South Florida.”

Holtz listed various USF players and explained why each was an outstanding attribute to the team. He mentioned the Bulls’ “two fine quarterbacks” who alternate playing time, and even spent a good deal of praise on his opponent’s kicking game, citing Santiago Gramatica, brother of NFL kicker Martin Gramatica.

“Santiago Gramatica … great place kicker,” Holtz said. “He’s out of that Gramatica family down (in Florida). He lined up a 58-yard field goal last week that was dead on but just short. It looked like they were kicking into the wind.”